Hubble Telescope


I am 57 years old and it may all be down hill from here. Seriously. In humankind’s 100,000 year history we just threw a spear out of here. In terms of what we were promised – you know warp drive, aliens and foreign civilizations it is kind of drab; but in terms of goal posts, it is a huge leap. Some might even say a quantum leap. All I can say is WOW.

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/10/more-evidence-that-voyager-has-exited-the-solar-system/

More evidence that Voyager has exited the solar system

Friday, October 5, 2012

A science blog with Eric Berger

Something very, very interesting is happening with Voyager 1, the human probe that’s the very farthest from Earth.

New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system.

At last check, NASA scientists said they were not yet ready to officially declare that Voyager 1 had officially exited the solar system by crossing the heliopause.

To cross this boundary scientists say they would need to observe three things:

1. An increase in high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our solar system

2. A drop in charged particles emanating from the sun.

3. A change in the direction of the magnetic field.

As I reported in June,  in regard to the first point, scientists have observed a sustained increase in galactic cosmic rays during recent months.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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So this is happening as we speak, they are repositioning the solar panels for docking in 16 minutes. So they are a kiss away from either clicking or blowing up . Which ever is going to happen.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

They look like they are about 10 feet apart. That is amazing.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/dragon-capsule-on-course-1446050.html

Dragon capsule on course for space station arrival

By MARCIA DUNN

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule approached the International Space Station for a historic docking Friday after sailing through a practice rendezvous the day before.

The unmanned SpaceX Dragon was on track most of the morning to deliver a half-ton of supplies and become the first commercial vessel to visit the space station. But as the capsule drew within 100 feet, flight controllers commanded it to retreat.

The capsule backed off to 230 feet as the SpaceX company worked to resolve a problem with the on-board tracking sensors. Stray reflections from the Japanese part of the space station were interfering with the Dragon’s laser-based sensors, officials said. SpaceX mission controllers quickly fixed the trouble and resumed the docking operation.

On Thursday, the capsule came within 1½ miles of the space station in a practice fly-by. It returned to the neighborhood early Friday so Kuipers and U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit could capture it with a robot arm. First, the capsule went through a series of stop-and-go demonstrations to prove it was under good operating control.

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Go there and look or read. More tomorrow.

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OK. This has nothing to do with Energy or the Environment. I mean it does if you believe that air travel, both military and commercial, is responsible for a HUGE chunk of the atmospheric pollution that is destabilizing the planet’s climate. Even then how much will it add? Not much probably. Still this is just so cool. As reported here:

http://www.universetoday.com/84765/dream-job-posting-spaceship-pilots-wanted/

Dream Job Posting: Spaceship Pilots Wanted

by Nancy Atkinson on April 11, 2011

Some might do a double take at this job posting, but it is legit. Virgin Galactic announced today they are looking for pilot-astronauts and are now accepting applications…from qualified candidates. High scores on Aces of the Galaxy or Space Flight Simulator probably doesn’t meet the criteria, so just what does constitute Virgin Galactic’s idea of qualified?

Virgin’s press release says qualified candidates are full course graduates of a recognized test pilot school who are broadly experienced with both high-performance fast-jet type airplanes and large multi-engine types. Prior spaceflight experience is desirable. You’ll also have to be able to create a safe and enjoyable commercial suborbital space flight experience for your passengers.

Those selected will have the responsibilities of knowing the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo spaceflight system test program in and out (and in accordance with government regulations and company policies in Mojave, California where test flights take place and Virgin Galactic’s commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.)

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Sourced from the Virgin itself.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/careers/

Careers

THE SPACESHIPCOMPANY

Excellent career opportunities are available with The Spaceship Company (TSC) – the assembler of Virgin Galactic’s fleet of SpaceShipTwos and WhiteKnightTwos.
Click the following link to find out more on The Spaceship Company website

 

VIRGIN GALACTIC CURRENTLY HAS TWO JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Position: PILOT – ASTRONAUTS Please click here to apply online and for further details

Position: HEAD OF OPERATIONSPlease click here to apply online and for further details

For any questions, please email jobs@virgingalactic.com

Site built by Outside Line

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But is this the near end of a dead end road? Have we so polluted the planet that this is our last gasp? We shall see. More tomorrow.

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This is Beautiful:

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/323116main_s119e010286_hires.jpg

space-station.jpg

www.shuttlepresskit.com

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This is not:

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE52T5TN20090330?rpc=64

NASA in Colbert conundrum over Space Station

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – NASA’s outreach to the public to drum up interest in the International Space Station started innocently enough with an online contest to name the station’s new living quarters.

But Stephen Colbert, a comedian who poses as an ultra right-wing news commentator on cable television’s Comedy Central, nosed into the act with a grass-roots appeal that has backed the staid U.S. space agency into a corner.

The comedian’s supporters cast 230,539 write-in votes to name the new module at the $100-billion space outpost “Colbert.” The top NASA-suggested name, “Serenity,” finished a distant second, more than 40,000 votes behind.

Contest rules stipulate that the agency retains the right to basically do whatever it wants, but it may not be that easy.

Last week, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democrat, called on NASA to do the democratic thing and use the name that drew the most votes.

“NASA decided to hold an election to name its new room at the International Space Station and the clear winner is Stephen Colbert,” Fattah said in a statement. “The people have spoken, and Stephen Colbert won it fair and square — even if his campaign was a bit over the top.”

NASA is taking some time to ponder its next move.

“We have a plan and we’re working with some folks and in a couple of weeks you’ll know what the answer is,” NASA’s associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier said.

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Who is laughing now Mr. Colbert..hmmmmm?

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Normally I stick to the light commercial/ residential energy consumer markets and grass roots environmental issues. This blog will occasionally address industrial issues especially involving large power generators. The Space Shuttle is so way past industrial that well it’s hard for this blog to comment. I am also very conscious of the 2 we collectively blew up. I lived through both of them and the fire aboard the Apollo 1 space flight testing. That said I think NASA needs to keep flying the Shuttles until they have an effective replacement for it. NASA argues that they don’t have the money or the manpower to do both. I think that is sissy talk myself. The Hubble needs them and so does the International Space Station. We are never leaving this solar system of ours. That’s a fact Jack. Even Asimov said it would take us 100 years to have the infrastructure in place to go to Mars so let’s slow down and get this one right. The first thing we need to do is create an integrated space command so that everyone is flying together.

We need to create reuseable space stuff too. Our orbit is starting to look like a flying garbage dump. We have our stuff scatterred willy nilly over 4 planets besides our own. We have even thrown something out into the galaxy. But throwing stuff away, like Burning Behavior will take several posts.

http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn15145-space-shuttle-is-key-issue-for-obama-agency-says.html

Space shuttle is key issue for Obama, agency says

  • 22:48 06 November 2008
  • NewScientist.com news service
  • Rachel Courtland

Incoming president Barack Obama must decide the shuttle’s fate soon if he wants to keeps its replacement on schedule, the Government Accountability Office says (Image: NASA)

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US president-elect Barack Obama will need to decide soon whether to retire the space shuttle in 2010 or extend its life, a government oversight office said on Thursday.

The space shuttle is one of 13 ‘urgent’ issues that face the next US president, according to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) list. “These are issues that will require the attention of the President and Congress early on in the next administration,” says GAO spokesperson Chuck Young.

Deciding the fate of the shuttle is particularly time-sensitive, Young says. If the government decides to fly more shuttle missions, it could impact how quickly NASA can move forward with a shuttle replacement, set to be ready to fly by March 2015.

The replacement, the centrepiece of a NASA programme called Constellation, would end a five-year gap in the US’s ability to transport astronauts to space. During the interim, astronauts will have to hitch rides to the International Space Station on Russian Soyuz capsules.

Interdependent programmes

Extending the shuttle’s lifetime means that if “NASA’s budget doesn’t change, it will put Constellation off”, says Cristina Chaplain of the GAO.

But even with more money, NASA may not be able to close the gap in its access to space. That’s because the shuttle and Constellation programmes are interdependent, Chaplain told New Scientist.

The agency needs to free up facilities and personnel that currently maintain the shuttle fleet for work on the replacement vehicle, an Apollo-inspired capsule called Orion that will launch atop the Ares I rocket.

Congress built in time for Obama to decide the shuttle’s fate. NASA is not allowed to take any actions before 30 April 2009 that would prevent the shuttle from flying safely after its scheduled retirement in 2010, according to the agency’s new authorisation act, which passed in October.

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Would you care to bet on that?:

 http://www.hubdub.com/m21244/Will_the_Space_Shuttle_retire_by_the_end_of_2010_as_planned

Will the Space Shuttle

retire by the end of

2010, as planned?

Current forecast: 30% chance

Combining all predictions, the current forecast is that this is 30% likely to happen (unchanged in last 1 day)

The addition of an extra mission to NASA’s space shuttle flight manifest could significantly reduce the chance of retiring the orbiter fleet in 2010 as planned, possibly to as low as 5 percent, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a report released Monday [Nov 3, 2008].
The CBO studied risks associated with delaying the space shuttle’s retirement and how that would affect work on the replacement system – consisting of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares I launcher – which is expected to debut in 2015.
The report concluded there was a 20 to 60 percent chance NASA would be able to fly all of the 10 scheduled shuttle missions in the next two years. The addition of an 11th mission to transport the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station, as Congress has directed, would reduce that probability to between 5 and 30 percent, the CBO report said.
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Then again the way the Orion and the Constellation are going they may have all the time in the world:

 http://www.space.com/news/081104-nasa-shuttle-retirement-cbo.html

 The gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the first flight of Orion and Ares I could widen if NASA cannot keep Orion’s mass from growing during development. Other issues that could delay Orion and Ares I include a longer-than-expected development of Ares I’s J-2X upper-stage engine, difficulties with the Orion’s heat shields and excessive thrust oscillation in Ares 1’s first stage, the CBO report said.

The report also said a $577 million reduction in NASA’s 2007 funding prompted NASA to forego some robotic lunar surface exploration missions, which could delay plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020.

The gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the first flight of Orion and Ares I could widen if NASA cannot keep Orion’s mass from growing during development. Other issues that could delay Orion and Ares I include a longer-than-expected development of Ares I’s J-2X upper-stage engine, difficulties with the Orion’s heat shields and excessive thrust oscillation in Ares 1’s first stage, the CBO report said.

The report also said a $577 million reduction in NASA’s 2007 funding prompted NASA to forego some robotic lunar surface exploration missions, which could delay plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020.

The gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the first flight of Orion and Ares I could widen if NASA cannot keep Orion’s mass from growing during development. Other issues that could delay Orion and Ares I include a longer-than-expected development of Ares I’s J-2X upper-stage engine, difficulties with the Orion’s heat shields and excessive thrust oscillation in Ares 1’s first stage, the CBO report said.

The report also said a $577 million reduction in NASA’s 2007 funding prompted NASA to forego some robotic lunar surface exploration missions, which could delay plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020.

http://www.space.com/common/media/video.php?videoRef=SP_080821_parchute_test

 http://www.space.com/common/media/video.php?videoRef=SP_080721_constellation1

 http://www.space.com/common/media/video.php?videoRef=SP_080721_constellation2

http://www.space.com/common/media/video.php?videoRef=080626-constellation-rock